'Twitter Files' reveal Dem Ro Khanna had concerns about Twitter's censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story

 December 3, 2022

The newly-released "Twitter Files" reveal that U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) was one of the many individuals who expressed concern about Twitter's decision, before the 2020 presidential election, to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story. 

On Friday night, Elon Musk, Twitter's new owner, decided to release information through journalist Matt Taibbi in order to clear the air regarding Twitter's censorship of the New York Post's bombshell report ahead of the 2020 election.

Twitter File 18 reads:

Twitter took extraordinary steps to suppress the story, removing links and posting warnings that it may be “unsafe.” They even blocked its transmission via direct message, a tool hitherto reserved for extreme cases, e.g. child pornography.

The remaining Twitter Files demonstrate the aftermath of this decision.

"They just freelanced it"

The next few Twitter files show confusion among Twitter employees regarding the decision to censor the Post's story. Eventually, it was decided that Twitter was going to sell the censorship as a violation of its "hacked materials."

Twitter File 23 reveals, "the decision was made at the highest levels of the company, but without the knowledge of CEO Jack Dorsey, with former head of legal, policy, and trust Vijaya Gadde playing a key role."

Then, Twitter File 24 quotes an unidentified former Twitter employee as explaining, "They just freelanced it. Hacking was the excuse, but within a few hours, pretty much everyone realized that wasn’t going to hold. But, no one had the guts to reverse it."

Subsequent Twitter Files show the pushback that Twitter received from many, including many Twitter employees.

What about the First Amendment?

Twitter File 30 reveals that Khanna - to the surprise of many - was among those who pushed back against the censorship, informing Twitter that the decision was "generating huge backlash on [Capitol] hill."

In an attempt to allay Khanna's concern, Gadde, in part, replied, "we put out a clarifying threat of Tweets earlier this evening to explain our police around the posting of private information and linking directly to hacked materials."

Khanna, however, followed up by highlighting the obvious First Amendment issues with Twitter's decision, writing, "this seems a violation of the 1st Amendment principles."

"[T]o restrict the distribution of that material, especially regarding a Presidential candidate, seems not in the keeping of the principles of NYT v. Sullivan," Khanna writes.

It didn't matter

As we now know, Khanna's concern - as well as the concern of countless others - didn't matter. Twitter, seemingly at the direction of Gadde, stood behind its decision to censor the Hunter Biden laptop story.

As they say, the rest is history. President Joe Biden won the 2020 election, and, to this day, many argue that Twitter's censorship played a key role.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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